Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Category: Evangelism Page 2 of 3

Keeping Evangelism and Discipleship together

During my college years I was involved in a coffee house ministry that reached out to street people in Worcester, Massachusetts. Many who dropped in were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. One of the evangelists said to me that if he could just get someone to say the sinner’s prayer (even if they were drunk), there was one more on the way to heaven. This was certainly an extreme separation of evangelism and discipleship, certainly also a distortion of evangelism. In the 1970’s I often observed and participated in evangelism that had little emphasis on discipleship. Now some talk about discipleship before conversion. So the pendulum swings.

I have heard presentations on discipleship that did not even mention the cross and the resurrection. Perhaps that was assumed. But the cross and resurrection are matters of “first importance” that Paul reminds the Corinthians of in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:


About 35 years ago I heard Dr. Sam Rowen lecture on elenctics.  The term is seldom used in missiology today and the concept behind it gets little press. There is, however, an article on elenctics in the Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, (p. 307,8). The chief proponent of elenctics is J. H. Bavinck in his book, An Introduction to the Science of Missions (1960). J.H. Bavinck (1895-1964) was a missiologist in the Dutch Calvinist tradition.

Elenctics, in Christianity, is a division of practical theology concerned with persuading people of other faiths (or no faith) of the truth of the Gospel message, with an end to producing in them an awareness of, and sense of guilt for, their sins, a recognition of their need for God’s forgiveness, repentance (i.e. the disposition to turn away from their sin) and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.


Plans that seem like nothing

It is that time of year again, when we are asked to develop annual ministry plans for the coming year. We dream about what we would like to see happen in 2017 – and then we face the reality of our limited financial and people resources.  We do not want to discount what God can do, and so we seek to set goals that call for faith and utter dependence upon God.

But we are also told to make sure that our annual goals are SMART:

  • S – Strategic (How clearly does it propel our vision forward?)
  • M – Measurable (How will we know when we have completed the goal?)
  • A – Ambitious (a faith-stretch) (Does it require us to depend on God?)
  • R – Realistic (Do we have at least a rough idea for how we could work towards accomplishing it?)
  • T – Time-bound (Have we determined a deadline for completing the goal?)

Review of “Controversies in Mission: Theology, People, and Practice in the 21st Century”

192397561The Evangelical Missiological Society’s 2016 volume, Controversies in Mission, edited by Rochelle Cathcart Scheuerman and Edward L. Smithers contains papers from the 2015 Regional Meetings and National Conference.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Part One, Biblical Perspectives and the Theology of Mission
  • Part Two, The People of Mission
  • Part Three, The Practice of Mission
  • Part Four, Historical and Future Perspectives.

Meditation on the Church

The church is important. In Christ and Culture Revisited, D.A. Carson writes,

We need to be reminded that the only human organization that continues into eternity is the church. (217).

This statement, made somewhat in passing, highlights the importance of the church.

The seventh part of SEND’s Statement of Faith is:

We believe that the church is the body of Jesus Christ, for which He will return, consisting of all who have accepted the redemption provided by Him.

Throughout this series of blog posts on our Statement of Faith we have been asking the basic question, “How does this statement hold us?” We continue with these thoughts on the church.

Did Paul take a “same God approach” at Athens?

Paul begins his Areopagus address: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with the inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22-23 ESV).

Developing the art of Conversational Evangelism

I found David and Norman Geisler’s book, Conversational Evangelism: Connecting with People to Share Jesus while doing some reading on contextualization.   I thought it would be interesting combining Norman Geisler’s expertise in apologetics and his son, David’s experience on college campuses and 7 years serving in Singapore. I was not disappointed. This is a very helpful book. Similar in some ways to Randy Newman’s book, Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did, the Geislers’ book has more emphasis on worldviews and apologetics.

The first chapter, “The Need for Pre-Evangelism in a Postmodern World”, makes the point that evangelism is a process. Then chapter 2 introduces the model with four types of conversations: “Hearing Conversations, Illuminating Conversations, Uncovering Conversations, and Building Conversations”.  The Geislers relate these conversations to four roles we play:

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